Now there’s a catch-phrase to titillate the senses … eh wot folks?
Late 17th century … Western Europe. Was man obsessed with his
mortality? Did he need constant reminders that the end was a’comin’
around the next metaphorical corner? And if so … what reminder
would do the trick? What could he possibly use that would act as a
mnemonic memory device … never letting his consciousness lapse
into such a state of numbness as to allow him a moment’s respite from
the knowledge that any second now the candle would be extinguished
… never to light again? Enter the jeweler.
Memento Mori jewelry had now long been prevalent among the
hoi-polloi as well as the upper-class. Emblems of death abounded.
Skulls and skeletons and coffins prevailed in order to ensure
virtuosity among the living. And if the jewelry didn’t work … well
there was always castration and the cauldron and other sweet little
proddings to ensure man lived a life according to the rules. Excuse
me sir, said the meek little man who walked into the local jewelry
establishment in order to purchase a wee doodad that would act as a
reminder that if he didn’t live the clean life he’d be in deep
doo-doo. Do you have any symbols of death? A pendant a ring a
bracelet? Anything. I have these sinful thoughts, you see … and I
need to have them quelled.
Ahh … how the jeweler rubbed his palms in anticipation. He had a
live one. A sinner who could not live with his sinful thoughts. Do
you want something mundane, said the jeweler? Or would you prefer
something a bit more ornate which – due to it’s very ornateness
and ornatability – will ensure absolute chaste thinking? Something
with rubies perhaps … to remind you of the blood-letting you will
have to endure in the after-life if you do not adhere to the
pristine life in the here and now? And with diamonds too … to
remind you of the hardness of judgement day should you stray from
the noble path?
Do these things truly work, said meek-man? Now now now, said the
friendly jeweler who knew all about human frailty and fear. Hey …
the guy had to make a living too. He had a wife and kiddies. And
then there was college and graduate school. I have a ring that’s
guaranteed. Absolutely guaranteed. Every time you have even the
beginnings of a sinful thought … the ring will remind you of the
error of your ways and the thoughts will disappear as if by magic.
Magic, said meek-man? Does it truly contain magic? Does a pig have a
pink ass, said the jeweler? And so the deal was done.
Now I ask you dear souls … what good is all this wondrous
about death-jewelry if I had nothing to show you? And so
show you I will. A ring … with rubies and a nice white skull to
ensure chasteness in its wearer.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Skull …
where you’ll see an image of a 17th century gold Skull Ring with
And there ya have it. That's it for this week folks. Catch you all next week. Benjamin Mark -- http://www.tyler-adam.com --